Its interior is being lovingly renovated and St Paul's Memorial Church and Pūtiki Parish Hall are now up for recognition as a Category 1 historic place.

Heritage New Zealand believes the church and hall have outstanding heritage significance, and has made the proposal. Submissions are due by March 19, and if approved the church and hall will be added to the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.

The church is now in the second phase of its restoration, by a trust. The restoration plan was done by Heritage NZ Māori heritage expert Dean Whiting, with Whanganui's Bruce Dickson and Wendy Pettigrew.

Exterior work is finished, and included a new roof, sprinkler system and wiring. In January the focus moved to painstaking work on the ornate interior.


The church was consecrated in 1937, and is the fifth on its site. It continues the long history of Anglican mission at Pūtiki, Heritage NZ says.

It is associated with Sir Apirana Ngata's programme to revive traditional Māori arts. Its interior thus has magnificent carving, tukutuku panelling, kōwhaiwhai-painted rafters and kākaho-lined ceilings.

"These come together in a special and striking fusion with the European neo-Gothic architectural form of the building."

This blend makes the church "an embodiment of the influences that Christianity and Māori culture have had on each other," senior heritage assessor Blyss Wagstaff said.

The parish hall adds to the total picture. Built in 1953, its interior was decorated with contemporary interpretations of customary art. They were the work of well-known artist Dr Cliff Whiting, who died in 2017.

++ To make a submission on the proposal, email Karen Astwood on